Paul McDonald responds to ‘Lost, not forgotten’

In response to the Lost, not forgotten – an inquiry into children who died by suicide and were known to child protection report tabled today by the Commission for Children & Young People, Paul McDonald, CEO of Anglicare Victoria said:

 

“This report documents a tragedy of lost lives and lost opportunities to prevent these deaths.

It gives evidence of a child protection system that is overwhelmed by demand, unable to bring specific interventions to cases as a result. It reveals the tragedy of children and young people slipping through large cracks in our system of care.

Commissioner Buchanan is to be commended for this thorough and detailed report. The best way to honour the children involved is for this report to become a catalyst for positive change.

I support the Commissioner’s call for the government to develop, resource and implement a new strategy for the child and family system that shifts the focus to earlier intervention in our system of care.

We must do all we can to prevent our most vulnerable young people taking their own lives.

Investment in support and services is currently geared to the statutory end of a family’s involvement with the system. Once a family reaches crisis point, intervention and support is coming too late.

We now need to turn our heads to see this report as a motivator to investment into the early intervention end, not the ‘pointy’ end – particularly for those families that are repeatedly coming in touch with the system.

Funding must be prioritised to evidence-based models that focus on preventing children and young people entering the child protection and engaging early with families who do end up in the system. We know, and have proved, that early intervention pays off for everyone.

In other areas of governance in recent years, we have seen the government act on short falls in service through the strategy of scale – police, public transport and roads for example. It is now time for scale to be brought to the child and family welfare system.

We know what works, but it is scale that is needed.”

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